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NT authorities paid $400,000 for stabilisation paintings on Roper Valley iron ore mine

The NT authorities was once compelled to step in and pay a contractor greater than $400,000 to “urgently” stabilise a Vietnamese-owned iron ore mine previous to the rainy season, ABC Rural can divulge. 

Overdue final 12 months, inspectors from the Division of Business, Tourism and Industry (DITT) known “top attainable dangers related to erosion and sediment keep watch over” on the Roper Valley iron ore challenge.

The hazards had to be “mitigated previous to graduation of the 2022/2023 rainy season”, in step with a DITT spokesperson.

However the mine operator was once no longer in a position to handle the problems inside the required period of time.

The dept then used its regulatory powers to have interaction a mining contractor to adopt “pressing” works to cut back the danger of sediment-laden run-off leaving the mine website online right through monsoonal rains. 

The contractor additionally put in further sediment retention ponds and progressed drainage. 

Piles of iron ore on the ground, with machinery lined up in the background.
A stockpile of iron ore on the Roper Valley iron ore challenge.(Fb: Hoa Phat Team)

A young for the “rainy season stabilisation” paintings was once valued at $428,395 and finished between December 17 to December 23, 2022.

The dept will pursue the mine operator for value restoration, in step with the spokesperson. 

Mine owned through Vietnam’s greatest metal producer

The mine, 550 kilometres south-east of Darwin, has opened and closed below a number of other house owners since 2013. 

In 2021, it was once taken over through Vietnam’s biggest metal producer, the Hoa Phat Team, and began to export its first iron ore in July 2022.

However after simply two shipments, the corporate positioned the mine in care and upkeep in September, following a fall in iron ore costs. 

Beneath care and upkeep, the operator stops mining job however continues to be accountable for holding the website online secure.

“The operator of the mine website online is needed to regulate the website online in keeping with the present authorisation and authorized mining control plan,” a DITT spokesperson stated. 

“The operator is needed to watch stipulations onsite and adopt any long run upkeep works as essential.”

Hoa Phat Team didn’t reply to questions from ABC Rural. 

Within the first six months of 2022, the corporate reported a web benefit after tax of greater than $750 million. 

‘Very ordinary’ use of regulatory powers

Affiliate Professor of Environmental Engineering at RMIT College Gavin Mudd stated it was once “very ordinary” for the NT authorities to bodily interfere at a mine website online.

“There is no longer many examples I will be able to recall to mind a central authority stepping in and doing what a [mining] corporate must be caring for,” Mr Mudd stated.

“To me it means that there was once an overly major problem or very severe chance that the NT authorities was once interested in.

“It raises questions on what is going down out on the website online, as a result of if an issue like this has been allowed to emerge, it means that there has no doubt been screw ups there or problems which were poorly controlled.”

A DITT spokesperson stated, “Ongoing tracking and upkeep of the works and website online through the operator right through the rainy season will be sure the danger is correctly controlled and the environmental results are accomplished”.

Worker in Vietnam steel mill.
Hoa Phat Team is Vietnam’s greatest metal producer and some of the nation’s biggest personal corporations.(Provided: Hoa Phat Team)

A safety bond of simply over $1 million is held through DITT for the aim of rehabilitating the mine on the finish of its existence.

Mr Mudd stated the reality greater than $400,000 was once spent in a few days for erosion keep watch over paintings “means that the bond is almost definitely a little gentle”.

“There is almost definitely much more works required, if there was once a necessity for rehabilitation,” he stated.

“So I’d be involved that the bond is inadequate to finish rehabilitation paintings if that is wanted within the close to long run.”

In 2019, a 59-year-old employee was once killed on the NT’s Bootu Creek mine after a mine wall collapsed, burying him below 48,000 tonnes of soil.

The NT’s different two iron ore mines, the Roper Bar mine and the Frances Creek mine, are each in care and upkeep.

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